How to Summon Siri on Your iPad - dummies

How to Summon Siri on Your iPad

When you first set up the iPad, you have the option of turning on Siri. If you did so, you’re good to go. If you didn’t, tap Settings→General→Siri, and flip the switch so that On is showing.

To call Siri into action, press and hold the Home button until you hear a tone. Pretty simple, eh? The question, “What can I help you with?” appears onscreen. Start talking, and your question appears onscreen.

Siri also responds when you press a button on a Bluetooth headset.


What happens next is up to you. You can ask a wide range of questions or issue voice commands. If you didn’t get your words out fast enough or you were misunderstood, tap the icon at the bottom of the screen and try again.

Siri relies on voice recognition and artificial intelligence (hers, not yours). The voice genie responds in a conversational (if still ever-so-slightly robotic) manner. But using Siri isn’t entirely a hands-free experience. Spoken words are supplemented by information on the iPad screen.

Just where does Siri get that information? By tapping into Location Services and seeking answers from the web using sources such as Bing, Wikipedia, Yelp, Yahoo!, Open Table, Twitter, and WolframAlpha, which you can learn more about in the nearby sidebar.

And Siri on the iPad can open apps — Apple’s own as well as third-party apps. Indeed, from your contacts, Siri might be able to determine who your spouse, co-workers, and friends are, as well as knowing where you live.

You might ask, “How do I get home from here?” and Siri will fire up Maps to help you on your way. Or you can say, “Find a good Italian restaurant near Barbara’s house,” and Siri will serve up a list, sorted by Yelp rating. Using Open Table, Siri can even make a restaurant reservation.

Siri requires Internet access. A lot of factors go into accuracy, including surrounding noises and unfamiliar accents. And you also need to be comfortable with the fact that Apple is recording what you say.